Meta-adaptation in the auditory midbrain under cortical influence

Benjamin L. Robinson, Nicol S. Harper, David McAlpine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Neural adaptation is central to sensation. Neurons in auditory midbrain, for example, rapidly adapt their firing rates to enhance coding precision of common sound intensities. However, it remains unknown whether this adaptation is fixed, or dynamic and dependent on experience. Here, using Guinea pigs as animal models, we report that adaptation accelerates when an environment is re-encountered - in response to a sound environment that repeatedly switches between quiet and loud, midbrain neurons accrue experience to find an efficient code more rapidly. This phenomenon, which we term meta-adaptation, suggests a top-down influence on the midbrain. To test this, we inactivate auditory cortex and find acceleration of adaptation with experience is attenuated, indicating a role for cortex - and its little-understood projections to the midbrain - in modulating meta-adaptation. Given the prevalence of adaptation across organisms and senses, meta-adaptation might be similarly common, with extensive implications for understanding how neurons encode the rapidly changing environments of the real world.

LanguageEnglish
Article number13442
Pages1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2016

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Mesencephalon
Neurons
Acoustic intensity
neurons
Auditory Cortex
cortexes
Animals
Switches
Acoustic waves
Guinea Pigs
Animal Models
guinea pigs
sound intensity
animal models
organisms
coding
switches
projection
acoustics

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Cite this

Robinson, Benjamin L. ; Harper, Nicol S. ; McAlpine, David. / Meta-adaptation in the auditory midbrain under cortical influence. In: Nature Communications. 2016 ; Vol. 7. pp. 1-8.
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Meta-adaptation in the auditory midbrain under cortical influence. / Robinson, Benjamin L.; Harper, Nicol S.; McAlpine, David.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 7, 13442, 24.11.2016, p. 1-8.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Harper, Nicol S.

AU - McAlpine, David

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